(Photo: google images)
“Congratulations,” the cashier said cheerily as she forcefully thrust my 20-inch-long grocery receipt, half of which was an “invitation” to participate in a phone survey. “By participating, you are entered for a CHANCE to win free groceries for a year!”
Now you’re talking, I thought. If someone has a chance to win a free, full pantry it might as well be me. After all, we’re talking a retail value of $1,000.
And then, I returned to reality.
My real response?
Resist! It’s a time waster and you know it.
But “eligibility,” nonetheless, was appealing. It didn’t even matter at the moment that my two loving sons – 18 and 20 – don’t even live with us anymore. Besides only 100 survey recipients are used. Improving my odds from who knows what to 1 in 100!
I caved. The survey was for the grocery store chain I frequent. Its lay out makes sense to me. It had employed both my kids. I even know the cashiers by name and just learned that one became engaged.
The rationalizations kept rolling in, but soon I found myself dialing the survey’s 800 number and answering the 3.5 billion questions. OK, so maybe I’m exaggerating about the number of questions. However, I even convinced myself that in a small, microscopic kind of way my responses would jumpstart the Marketing Department providing information that would supercharge the chain’s communication efforts.
It’s over and I want my 11 minutes back.
I’m fatigued from answering the 50+ (really) questions. At this point, I didn’t even care if I WERE eligible for ANYTHING! Maybe I should have punched 5 for every answer telling the chain how great it is.
Honest feedback, though, takes time.
I even found myself wondering where all those tabulated answers go as they float off somewhere to be evaluated by someone. I’m sure I caused joy unspeakable as my responses arrived at an undisclosed location.
HONEST feedback DOES exist, the evaluators will say. Give this woman – she did indicate her gender and that she’s a year-round resident – even though she passed on disclosing the number of children in her home (none) and her annual salary (do they really need to know I’m a public school teacher?) – a BIGGER chance to win! Aww, heck, just chunk the other 99 responses.
Somehow, though, I don’t think it works that way. I have realized that giving my “honest feedback” is now NO longer important to me. Besides, I’m sure anyone younger than say, 50, out there could answer in half the time and feel really good about their efforts.
Besides, the last time I gave my honest feedback in survey form was in December. I had just completed a State required education program designed to put me on the fast track to earning my professional teaching certificate. I was “required” to answer a survey about the program before my coursework was considered complete.
Surely, THIS would matter, I thought. I even provided my truthful impression about the first professor on the first day of the first course. You know what they say about first impressions… I knew inside that I had to tell the program director something she really needed to know. It was that first professor’s comment, which was “Welcome to h- e- double hockey sticks.
Let’s just say I inferred that I was already in a state of heightened anxiety knowing I was willingly investing my entire summer into classwork in this “summer intensive.” No one had to explain to me where I was. In fact, I was hoping for a little encouragement like, “Only seven weeks stands between you and having this program behind you. Now let’s get started.”
But I was stuck. The tuition paid and I had not majored in education, thus my participation.
The administrator’s response? Zilch. Nada. Zippo.
So the next time I’m “invited” to participate in a survey?
I’ve got nothing to say and I’m good with that.